Monday, September 16, 2013

This is Home, Part 25 - President Roosevelt, the war ends, the men come home

This is part 25 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

President Roosevelt

President Roosevelt had led the country almost through World War II. He is the only president in history who was elected for four terms. I read that in each of those elections, he carried 31 states out of 48. He was loved in the United States and the world.

Just a few days before graduation, we were listening to the radio and heard that President Roosevelt had died. This was on April 12th. I remember telling Daddy, Uncle Doc and Charley that he had died. They were bringing the horses and wagon back from working. For the first time, I saw tears in Uncle Doc's eyes.

President Roosevelt's friends and neighbors plus thousands of others stood weeping at Warm Springs as the funeral train left for Washington, D.C. It took around twenty three hours to get there. (I hope I remembered this correctly.) His casket had been placed on something that raised it so it could be seen out of the windows. At night, the lights in the train were dimmed and the car with his casket was brightly lit. It was also brightly lit during the day. His casket could be seen for miles. The tracks were lined on both sides all the way through the countryside with thousands of people weeping. No matter what the hour there were grandparents, mothers and fathers, often holding children. Mrs. Roosevelt sat watching the continuing tribute to her husband.

On the trip from Washington to Hyde Park, N.Y., the situation was the same.

His daughter, Anna, remembers sitting on the floor and watching from her window all the people who loved him. He was buried in his rose garden at his home in Hyde Park.

There is a famous picture of a black man in a uniform crying and playing "Going Home" on his accordion. I don't know where it was taken.

When President Roosevelt died, it was similar to when President Kennedy died. The whole world mourned and everyone remembers where they were when they heard.

Newspapers published a daily list of servicemen who had died for their country. The day after Roosevelt's death, some newspapers put at the head of their casualty list Roosevelt, Franklin D., Commander-in-Chief.

The war ends

The atomic bomb had been a closely guarded secret. President Truman got the shock of his life when he was told.

First, we had the formal surrender of Germany. V-E day -- Victory in Europe -- was May 8, 1945, but I think the formal surrender was somewhat later. President Roosevelt had told someone that the war in Europe would be over by the end of May.

After calling for the Japanese surrender and receiving their refusal, Truman ordered the first atomic bomb dropped on Japan. They still refused and kept fighting. After a second atomic bomb was dropped, they wanted to stop fighting. The formal surrender was signed on September 2, 1945 (V-J Day) on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. World War II was over.

The men come home

Lawrence (Mary Ellen's husband) came home. So did Bob Bolton (Bea's husband). Denver Williams came home with a bride, Caroline, from the South. So we acquired a Catholic girl in a community that was Baptist. Most of the servicemen came home, except for a military force which we maintained overseas.

The jobs that had been filled by their wives were given back to the soldiers. That sounds strange today, but in those days, women were usually housewives. However, some of them liked working and missed their jobs.

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This is Home, Part 24 - Back to Hickory, back to Darksville, the manger scene on the blackboard, Darksville community functions, cleaning the floors in school, cleaning the office, grade school graduation

This is part 24 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Back to Hickory

We went back to Hickory for my seventh grade after going to Darksville for the sixth. We got a new teacher, one that was a year or two older than Uncle Doc. Her name was Miss Gussie Eagan. I really liked her. I was the oldest student in school and the only one in my class. I don't know where Mary Hill was. Probably, she liked going to Darksville better. Her family was the next family toward the school. We must have just barely had enough children. They were all younger than I was. Jean was there, too.

During an earlier year, we went to school briefly with a girl who had TB (tuberculosis). Uncle Doc heard her cough and he talked to her parents. She had to be withdrawn from school. I don't know if they knew and sent her anyway, or if they had her checked after he talked to them. TB was called consumption then.

I got a lot of concentrated help on my math from my seventh grade teacher. And I got to do extra things like putting new numbers and letters on library books showing what type of books they were. Then I rearranged the library.

I noticed that Uncle Doc talked to Miss Eagan about the war, sometimes. I had her all picked out for an aunt, but he wouldn't listen. That was when he told me about the girl he loved who died. At the end of the year, the school closed permanently.

Back to Darksville

So, everyone went to Darksville again. Where we lived, everyone was pretty much a Baptist. This year, someone who taught a class in the Darksville Baptist Church (right next to the school) decided to teach anyone who was interested after school. So Jean and I stayed, along with some others. Mary Hill was one.

The manger scene on the blackboard

At school, the teacher had me draw the manger scene with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Also, the wise men, shepherds and animals. Of course, the shining star, too. I made it with colored chalk, on the blackboard. It was up for maybe a couple of weeks before Christmas. After church, which we had started attending, everyone walked next door to see the picture that covered the blackboard. I wondered how they knew it was there.

Darksville community functions

While Jean and I were going to Darksville School for two years, we attended community functions along with our family.

I remember one time we went to a Halloween get-together. Everyone was supposed to dress up and the one who wasn't recognized or the ones who weren't recognized would get a prize or prizes.

Mom, Jean and I dressed up in costumes. This was when I was in the sixth grade. Mom said, "Let me go in first. You two girls stay here and wait for awhile before you come in. Then come in together." She couldn't convince Jean to wait and neither could I. Jean went in walking really close to Mom's side and partly behind her. Jean was very shy.

A woman -- one of the judges -- told Mom afterwards that they couldn't guess who she was until they saw Jean.

Everyone played Upset the Fruit Basket and Musical Chairs, and tried to get the bobbing apple out of the tub of water with their teeth. I hate stuff like that, so I did my usual disappearing act into the cloak room. After awhile they missed me and knew just where to look -- unfortunately.

Cleaning the floors in school

Cleaning the floors in grade school was interesting. It was swept, but every once in awhile the teachers sprinkled oily sawdust over it.

The students got to run and slide, thus cleaning the floor. The floor was made of wood.

Cleaning the office

When I was working in the real estate office, they did the same thing -- oily sawdust on the floor every so often. Joyce (W.B.'s secretary) and I either slid or rubbed it into the floor by walking; I don't remember. Mr. Stone (my boss) had three older children by a previous marriage. A couple of them may have helped. I'm pretty sure the older child, Jimmy, did help because he swept the floor every evening and emptied the trash. He was 13 years of age.

Grade school graduation

We graduated from grade school along with all the other schools around. We had to all go to the Moberly Municipal Auditorium to graduate. This was in April 1945.

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